The Bastrop CATS spay and neuter program has trapped, neutered and released hundreds and hundreds of feral cats that would have otherwise reproduced and exacerbated the feral cat numbers in town. It takes funds to keep the program going. The popular Cool CAT Chili Cook Off is aimed at doing just that.


The fifth annual event takes place on Jan. 25 at the 1832 Farmers Market, with lunch served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. I have made most of them, and I can tell you first hand that the chili is great, and it comes with “all the fixin’s.” There will also be a bake sale and a cake walk. Suggested donation per bowl is from $6-10.


Cooks, dust off your chili chef hats and get your entry in before the Jan.22 deadline. Contact bastropcats23@gmail.com for entry details. Attendees will vote for the People’s Choice Award and celebrity judges will decide winners for Best Vegetarian and Best Omnivore Chili.


Good bye to a good friend as she moves on


Not long after I moved to Bastrop from Baton Rouge in 2004, I got involved with the Downtown Business Alliance. As the organization grew, so did the size of the events we sponsored, and so did our sources of income, and so did our need for a treasurer. Deb Viesel stepped up. If my memory is correct, she filled that position almost as long as DBA held events downtown, around 10 years or so.


We worked closely, and I came to know her as not only a great treasurer, but as a caring and thoughtful person. As a New Orleans native, we both share a love for our New Orleans Saints football team. When she had an extra Saints baseball cap, she delivered one to my house. The same thing happened when she had a “second line” umbrella. In 2018, when she discovered a purple and gold LSU purse at one of our resale shops, she scooped it up for a special birthday present.


I love her not just because she has bought me things, though! Deb is a person on whom you can always depend, in good times and bad. You can’t say that about just anyone.


The sad news is that she has sold her home in Bastrop and is moving to New Mexico. The Deb Viesel fan club is getting together on Thursday at Cedars Mediterranean Grill for a farewell dinner.


Good luck, my friend. The road that leads you west will always bring you back to us in Bastrop. We hope you visit often.


Calling all young, aspiring thespians


If you know someone who is interested in being a member of the 2020 Bastrop Youth Performing Arts Academy Texas Non-Profit Theatres, INC (TNT) Youth Conference Troupe, listen up. This year’s conference will be held in Bastrop at the Jerry Fay Wilhelm Performing Arts Center June 11-14.


Young people from all across Texas who are interested in the performing arts come together to attend workshops ranging from improvisation to hip hop and stage makeup to audition techniques. Professional theatre artists teach all workshops, and each youth company will also have the opportunity to perform at the conference.


There will be an informational meeting on Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. at the Bastrop Opera House. Call Lisa Holcomb at 512-517-6422 if you have questions.


Interested in civil political discourse?


I think I can say, without fear of disagreement, that these days it is nigh on to impossible to have a dispassionate political discussion. Also, how many Facebook posts about something rather innocent have you seen dissolve into a rant about something totally off the subject? I have seen a bunch.


Well, a couple of 2019 college grads from the East Coast decided they wanted to see if they could make civil political discussions happen. Marley Duchovnay and Casey Moore chose to move to Smithville because they wanted to experience a myriad of opinions but still be near Austin.


They set up “Project Divided,” described as a multimedia project “to bring people to the table to have difficult conversations about politics” by initiating political discussions on their website, social media channels, and hosting conversations in the area. Recently they hosted an evening of chili and discussions.


The pair feel that the best way to impact the polarization that is rampant today is by building relationships with people of differing positions on today’s issues. Among the things they encourage is discussions based on personal values and by not assuming that if you are “A” then you must believe “B to Z.”


I think I will be following “Project Divided” in the future.


Until next time


That’s all for now. Until next time, be good to yourself. Let me hear from you by email at mooreaboutbastrop@yahoo.com so I can share the fun things that are going on in and around Bastrop.


Remember: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Saint Teresa of Calcutta